Lighting Equipment

14 Strobes and Modifiers for Studio and Location work

May 30, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

Bowens Generation X [Update]_

These strobes are no slackers. They include the battery-powered XMT and the AC-powered XMS strobes. The 500 w/s XMT offers TTL and high-speed sync (HSS) functionality (up to 1/8000 sec.) for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. Power is adjustable over a nine-stop range in full- or 1/3-stop increments with flash durations as short as 1/10,309 sec. Recycle times clock in between 0.01-2 sec. The interchangeable lithium-ion battery is good for up to 500 full-power flashes per charge and spares will set you back $330 each. Additional features include: rear curtain sync; sync delay and a strobe mode with a maximum 100 flashes per burst. The AC-powered XMS flash systems will be available in 500, 750 and 1000 w/s models and will be fully controllable via the XMSR 2.4 Ghz radio control and trigger (sold separately for $290).

PRICE: $1,100 (XMS 500); $1,300 (XMS 750); $1,500 (XMS 1000); $1,800 (XMT 500)

Update: As of July 2017, Bowens is out of business. Sales of the XMS and XMT flash units will continue until inventory is cleared. Support for Bowens products in Europe will be handled by Calumet. Support for U.S.-based owners has yet to be determined. 

Broncolor Siros L

Broncolor’s Siros L is a cord cutter’s delight. Not only does it sport built-in Wi-Fi for wireless remote control from a mobile device, it has a built-in battery so you won’t be tripping over power cords and battery packs when you’re on location. The Siros L is sold in 400 and 800 w/s versions—the former delivers 440 full-power flashes on a single charge, the latter up to 220. The batteries take about 70 minutes to recharge and are interchangeable. Both models support power control over a nine-stop range with adjustments in 1/10-stop increments.

PRICE: $2,095 (400 L); $2,395 (800 L)

Hensel Cito 500

The speedy Cito delivers incredibly short flash durations of as little as 1/100,000 sec. with a continuous mode of 40 flashes per second. At medium power, the 500 w/s flash can hit flash durations of 1/20,000 sec. with a burst mode of 10 flashes a second. Recycle times range from 0.025-0.5 sec. and power is adjustable over a nine stop range.

PRICE: $4,899

Adorama Orlit Rovelight RT 610 TTL

This 600 w/s strobe is battery-powered and compatible with Canon’s RT triggering technology. Canon users can use the 600EX-RT flash as a master and the Orlit RT 610 as the slave. The RT 610 TTL can be adjusted from between 1/256 power to full power in 1/10th stop increments. You’ll get about 450 full-powered shots on a single battery charge. The flash supports HSS and features 2.3 sec. recycling times at full power. There’s a 20 watt, 3200K LED modeling lamp and a mini USB port for firmware upgrades. It has a Bowens S-mount
for adding modifiers.

PRICE: $700

FJ Westcott Omega 360 Reflector

There are multi-purpose reflectors and then there’s Westcott’s new Omega 360. The 360, which was introduced at WPPI, integrates a ring flash into a traditional reflector to produce a main light and a backlight with a single light source. It features a one-stop diffusion panel with interchangeable white, silver, sunlight and black covers. It also has a removable, 13-inch center disk so you can shoot through the center of the reflector. The center disk attaches with Velcro so it’s easy to pop on or off. You’ll get a suction cup hook for mounting the Omega 360 on glass surfaces, plus a travel case.

PRICE: $130

Sunbounce Tight Fit Screen

With the Tight-Fit-Screen, owners of Sunbounce’s Sun Mover reflector can now add a third color option to the Mover, which itself has two colors—one on each side. Sunbounce says that while the Tight-Fit-Screen sits “like a second skin” on the Mover, it won’t compromise the reflector’s tension. Tight-Fit-Screens are available in Zig-Zag Silver, Zig-Zag Gold and Black-Hole.

PRICE: $49

Dynalite A6

The A6 is a 600 w/s strobe that runs on AC power. You’ll enjoy 1.3 second recycling times at full power and flash durations (0.5t) of 1/500 sec. at max power. HSS is supported for Canon or Nikon cameras (using optional triggers). You’ll be able to adjust power over seven stops in 1/10th stop increments. A stroboscopic mode has three presets for shooting five, ten or 15 flashes-per-second. There’s a 300W halogen modeling lamp and a Bowens S-mount for adding modifiers.

PRICE: $549

Chimera Collapsible Octa Beauty Dish

As the name implies, this 1-pound octagonal beauty dish collapses so it’s easy to take with you when you travel. It has a center bounce disc that can be removed if you want a harder light. The included front diffusion screen lets you convert the beauty dish into a lightbank. It is available in 24- and 30-inch sizes and requires an optional speed ring to mount it to your strobes.

PRICE: $262 (24-inch); $399 (30-inch)

Elinchrom ELB 1200

Elinchrom’s newest portable battery pack delivers 1200 w/s of flash output via two asymmetric outlets. It offers 1.7 sec. recycle times in Fast mode or 3 sec. in default mode. You’ll get 215 full-powered flashes on a charge, but if you spring for the slightly heavier HD battery, you’ll nearly double the output to 400 flashes. Like the ELB 400, the weather-resistant ELB 1200 battery pack works with three heads: Action, Pro or Hi-Sync. The ELB 1200 power pack weighs 4.3 pounds with the battery installed.

PRICE: $3,700

Interfit S1

Interfit Photographic’s S1 is a 500w/s strobe with a built-in battery that supports high-speed sync and TTL for Canon, Sony and Nikon cameras. The S1’s interchangeable lithium ion battery is good for up to 350 full-power flashes in either manual or TTL modes and up to 400 full-power flashes when shooting in HSS mode. Unlike many rival battery-powered strobes, the S1 can also run on AC power thanks to the included multi-voltage AC adapter. The flash works with an optional remote for Canon and Nikon cameras ($100) to enable TTL metering. Recent firmware updates have given the S1 greater power control with a newly expanded nine-stop adjustment range, up from the original seven.

PRICE: $750

Profoto D2

An update to Profoto’s workhorse studio flash, the D2 brings several upgrades to the older D1. Specifically, the D2 offers faster flash durations, HSS using Profoto’s optional Air remote, a 20 flash-per-second continuous mode and greater power control (a ten-stop range vs. the D1’s seven-stop range). The 500 w/s version offers flash durations between 1/2600 sec. up to a time-freezing 1/63,000 sec., while the 1000 w/s model clocks in between 1/1600 sec. and 1/50,000 sec. The 500 w/s D2 will offer recycling times between .03 to .6 sec. while the 1000 w/s D2 will recycle from .03 to 1.2 sec. Power is adjustable in either full stops or 1/10th stop increments. Both models support TTL using Profoto’s optional Air remote and incorporate a 300W halogen modeling lamp.

PRICE: $1,495 (500 w/s); $1,995 (1,000 w/s)

Photoflex OctoDome Small

The 3-foot OctoDome is an eight-sided softbox with an internal baffle to eliminate hot spots. The design provides a diffused light spread that’s as tall as it is wide, but the modifier itself cuts a narrower profile than a traditional softbox. It includes four removable gold and silver inner panels to give you a variety of modifying options. Speed rings to fit your strobe of choice are sold separately.

PRICE: $170

Impact Venture TT L-600

If you feel the lure of the road, Impact’s Venture TTL-600 will let you roam far beyond the reach of AC cables and power outlets. This battery-powered, 600 w/s strobe is lightweight, at just 4 pounds, and is small enough to fit inside your backpack. It has wireless triggering and power control for Sony, Canon and Nikon cameras with full TTL metering using an optional hot shoe transmitter. The Venture delivers 500 full-power flashes on a single charge and offers recycling times between 1.2 and 3 seconds. You can tweak power settings over an eight-stop range and sync with camera flashes up to 1/8000 sec. with always-available HSS compatibility. Flash duration clocks in at 1/19,500–1/455 sec. in Quick Mode.

PRICE: $999

Phottix Indra 500LC

The Indra 500LC is Phottix’s first studio light that is compatible with Canon’s radio flash system. The 500 w/s Indra500LC uses Canon RT triggering and control technology alongside Phottix’s Laso triggering system. Working in tandem, they let you control Canon RT-enabled speedlites and trigger the Indra500LC from the Canon ST-E3, Canon RT speedlites or from the Phottix Laso transmitter. The Laso triggering system also supports older, non RT Canon flashes as well, so you can mix and match old Canon flashes with the more powerful Indra. The strobe also supports HSS and TTL metering and offers an eight-stop power adjustment in 1/3 stop increments. There’s a strobo mode with an adjustable frequency between 1-100Hz for up to 100 flashes. The Indra500LC package includes a Li-Ion battery, cables, charger, carrying bag and a 5-inch reflector.

PRICE: $1,299